This course is aimed at those who already have a degree and some prior healthcare experience, and are committed to providing excellence in care to people who experience mental health problems. Students are expected to demonstrate the Chief Nursing Officer’s six Cs of nursing – care, compassion, competence, communication, courage and commitment – as they learn how to deliver outstanding healthcare in a supportive environment.
Mental health nurses make a vital contribution to supporting service users' recovery, working alongside people to help them manage their distress and work towards individualised goals. On this course students will have the opportunity to learn a range of mental health nursing skills including communication skills, building rapport, and developing a therapeutic relationship. Students will also learn about different psychological approaches and techniques that can help people learn how to manage their mental distress. These skills will be developed through role play, working in groups, understanding the underpinning theories, and on practice placements.
Alongside the huge range of University support services, care has been taken to develop a course that supports you to become a confident and independent learner. We welcome students who have recently completed an undergraduate degree, or simply want a change of career, and academic support from personal tutors and peers can help students back into education.
The Division of Nursing sits within the School of Health Sciences, which is a research active school and has its own dedicated Mental Health Research Group. All our teaching staff are experts in the field, having published key nursing textbooks, while many are also qualified nurses.
This two year accelerated nursing degree has helped to define me as a conscientious healthcare professional. The support of a dedicated team was instrumental in my attaining this fulfilling and worthwhile qualification, while its hands-on and immersive components facilitated a smooth transition into nursing.
- George Bond, Graduate Entry Nursing
Please note this course is not open to international students.
Course duration and structure
This programme is a three year course that's completed in two years, through the accreditation of your undergraduate degree and relevant practical experience*.
In line with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) regulation, all courses leading to registration (no matter their academic level) must be of three years duration. However, for students who already have a suitable degree and relevant work experience, we can shorten the duration of the course to two years.
Applicants are required to produce an advance standing portfolio, which reflects their work at the level expected of a year one student nurse within their chosen field. The portfolio is produced electronically through distance-learning and there is plenty of support to help with this process, including live webinars and tutorial support in terms of any technical difficulties.
*Examples of relevant experience can be found under the 'How to apply' tab.
This course is not suitable for qualified nurses. If you are a qualified nurse you may wish to consider our professional courses
This course is offered at the Derby Education Centre at Royal Derby Hospital*, where we have a clinical skills suite and additional drop-in facilities where students can practice in a simulated environment.
Students benefit from taking part in simulations which enable them to practice mental health nursing care with simulated patients (actors) in a safe environment. Mental health students also have the opportunity to work alongside adult and child field nursing students, participating in simulated scenarios with young people who experience emotional distress.
Students can also take advantage of the free HELM Open database, offering over 200 quality, peer-reviewed online learning and teaching resources.
Uniforms for clinical learning
Students are required to wear a uniform for clinical learning, comprising of a polo shirt with navy or black trousers and appropriate shoes. Branded polo shirts are available to purchase from the online shop.
*As of January 2020, students will be based at the School of Health Sciences, Nottingham. Those commencing January 2019 will be based at the Derby Centre for one year, then at Nottingham from their second year onwards.
We are proud to have one of the most active students' unions at any UK university, with over 300 societies and sports clubs where you can have fun, gain new skills and meet like-minded people. Students can also join the Nursing and Midwifery Association (NMA) society, who host social activities, organise sporting events and provide welfare support.
How to apply
From August 2017 applications for GEN have moved to the postgraduate route.
Shortlisted applicants will be interviewed and selection made based on academic qualifications and personal attributes suitable for nursing. Candidates will need to present a short account of how their prior learning and experience relates to nursing practice.
Relevant healthcare experience
Healthcare experience is necessary to meet Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) advanced standing requirements for this course. This will involve demonstrating a basic level of care experience (under supervision) through the submission of an online portfolio of evidence.
Examples of relevant experience could include working as:
- A healthcare assistant
- A mental health support worker
- A volunteer with charitable healthcare institutions
- A care giver within the family
Find out more about the selection process.
Our MSc-GEN mental health nursing students are typically allocated to community, private, voluntary and independent, and acute placement settings.
Practice-based learning is a key part of the course and you will experience a range of placements, working with healthcare professionals in a variety of areas, spending 50% of your time in a clinical practice setting.
Practice experience mainly takes place across Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire, in a range of in-patient and community settings. These could include:
- Acute care and crisis support
- Mental healthcare of the older person
- Forensic services, including secure hospitals
- Child and adolescent mental health services
- Substance misuse and addiction services
- Liaison psychiatry
- Mother and baby mental health services
Hub and spoke model
The course has a 50/50 split in terms of time spent in study and practice placement, and we have introduced an innovative hub-and-spoke model.
Your 'hub' placement will be your main base and will provide you with experience in a particular area. The 'spoke' placement allows you to go to a different area to see another aspect of the patient journey. For example, you may be based on a hospital ward, but you will also experience a GP's surgery and the care outpatients receive in the community once they go home.
This holistic approach will give you a wider perspective and demonstrate some of the challenges that both patients and healthcare professionals face at various stages.
In the first year, you will take part in small study groups (cross field), with some specialising in mental health nursing.
The structure is as below:
- Ten weeks theory
- Five weeks hub placement
- Five weeks theory
- Four weeks theory
- Four weeks spoke placement
- Four weeks return to hub placement (this is assessed)
- Three weeks theory
Please note that students have the same mentor for both hub placements.
In year two, you will receive clinical supervision preparing you for registered nursing practice. This supervision is integrated into the course structure from the first to last clinical placement.
Clinical skill development is an essential component of any nursing course. This will occur both in University and practice. Some clinical skills, for example hand washing, are accessed alongside other components of the course.
Typical clinical skills that will be covered include:
- Developing the therapeutic relationship
- Recovery planning
- Giving injections
- Cognitive behavioural techniques
- Administering of medication
- Coping strategies for hearing voices
Once you have successfully completed the course you will be eligible to register with the Nursing and Midwifery Council as a mental health nurse.
Find out more about how you will learn and be assessed, including an example first-year timetable, on our teaching webpage.
We welcome applications from individuals irrespective of age, race, sexual orientation or background as the diversity this brings to nursing reflects the population you will be caring for as a registered nurse. We are experienced in providing advice relevant to your needs as a mature nursing student through our personal tutor and University support systems.
Find out more about studying at Nottingham as a mature student on the mature students' website.
As a mature student I've had a lot of support and realised that there's a lot of people in the same boat as me - that don't live within the halls of residence at University, and that are around my age - so I've had a lot of peer support as well as the academic support.
- Gavin Hibberd-Smith, Graduate Entry Nursing
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